Coronavirus: Some laundry shops in Singapore may not reopen since offices remain closed

Mr Dobi Laundry Services in Yishun is one of the laundry shops that may not reopen yet, while some shops are planning to resume business with shorter opening hours and others are saying they will not allow walk-in customers. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA
Mr Dobi Laundry Services in Yishun is one of the laundry shops that may not reopen yet, while some shops are planning to resume business with shorter opening hours and others are saying they will not allow walk-in customers. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

Laundry companies will take tentative steps in reopening for business from May 12, saying they have to iron out some details first, such as establishing footfall where they are located.

Some are planning to resume business with shorter opening hours, while others are saying they will not allow walk-in customers.

Laundry services are among the businesses that will be allowed to reopen under adjusted circuit breaker measures announced by the multi-ministry task force.

Unmanned laundromats were not affected by the circuit breaker measures and were allowed to continue to operate.

Astoria Dry Cleaning, which has outlets at Orchard Towers, Coronation Shopping Plaza in Bukit Timah and a condominium in Marine Parade, told The Sunday Times it will be reopening its outlets but on a half-day basis.

"After reopening our outlets, I don't think there will be more customers because some of our outlets are in shopping malls where other shops will still be closed," said operations manager Ming Tay.

Mr Tay said that since the circuit breaker measures kicked in on April 7, business had dropped by about 70 per cent, even though Astoria offered pick-up and delivery laundry services during the period when non-essential services were closed and employees worked from home.

"Because our customers don't need to go back to the office, they won't need to use our services," said Mr Tay.

He added that most of the customers now are families who need washing and folding services for their children's clothes, curtains or bedding.

Meanwhile, laundry and dry cleaning chain Pressto, which has three outlets in Marina Bay Link Mall, Scotts Square and Bukit Timah Road, said it will not be re-opening its stores.

Instead, the chain will continue to provide pick-up and delivery for its laundry services, as it has been doing during the circuit breaker period.

Pressto manager Sharon Lai said: "The company discussed whether we should reopen... but we decided not to because most of our customers are office workers.

"Since they will not be going back to their offices in the Central Business District on Monday, there's no point for us to reopen."

She added that the outlets would likely reopen only when the circuit breaker period ends on June 1.

Some laundry businesses are also undecided about whether they will resume business on May 12.

Ms Mandy Chen, co-owner of Mr Dobi Laundry Services in Yishun, said she has not decided if she should reopen her shop yet.

Online orders for pick-up and delivery services have helped her to sustain her business, she added.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 10, 2020, with the headline Coronavirus: Some laundry shops in Singapore may not reopen since offices remain closed. Subscribe